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THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip


Postby mountainstar » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:05 am

Date walked: 04/09/2010

Distance: 64 km

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[u]THE GREAT WILDERNESS
A four day backpacking trip from Kinlochewe
64.2k / 40.06miles



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Day 1:- Sat 4th Sept

Kinlochewe (Incheril) to Loch Marie (outflow) 3.6k / 2.26 miles[/u]

Weather, Sunny, warm and calm.

I was looking forward to this trip, as it had been a good few years since I was last in the fantastic area around Fionn Loch in my days of bagging the Corbetts, on that occasion after walking in from Poolewe and setting up camp near the path north of Beinn Airigh Charn, the same day went on to continue a big walk to bag Beinn a’ Chaisgein Mor and Beinn Lair, and the next day bagged Beinn Airigh Charn before walking back, this would be a more leisurely walk.
I had some good weather then, and I hoped for more good weather ….I was going to be in luck again…..apart from the wind!
The trip started badly a few days earlier….Whilst on the first part of my holiday in Ayr I went to pack my rucksack ready for this trip, when I realised that a vital item was missing from the car…. my tent!!! PANIC! OK no replies to the effect of "what a w****r!" I know! I know! :oops: After ruling out the logistics of getting it sent up by post, I rushed to the town centre to check out any options of buying a new tent, which were an Argos (ok,I was desperate! but anyway the lightest tent was out of stock and otherwise nothing really suitable) a Millets (Eurohike, no thanks! the shame of be seeing in one of them! I’ll risk being called a mountain snob!) and a Blacks, which luckily had a half price end of season tent sale on, although by now not a lot of choice left, but my best and lightest choice was a 3 man Coleman weighing at 2.6 kg, a bit too big and heavy for what I needed, and being twice the weight of the tent I would have brought, but this would have to do.
I arrived at the car park at Incheril near to Kinlochewe, to find that there wasn’t a parking spot anywhere to be found, it turned out that there was a bike race on in the area, so after knocking on a few doors I got someone in who allowed me to park by their house

1 Beinn Eighe.jpg

Beinn Eighe

I finally set off walking at 2.30pm along the path to one of my favourite wild camping spots at the SE end of Loch Marie only about an hour away from the car.

2 Loch Marie & Slioch.jpg

Loch Marie & Slioch

This was going to be the last calm day for some time, and we all know what comes with ”calm”….yes midges, so the headnet was worn most of the evening, in which I enjoyed a good camp fire to keep me happy until 10pm, when I departed to bed.

3 Dusk, Loch Marie.jpg

Dusk, Loch Marie


Day 2:- Sun 5th

Loch Marie to Carnmore stable Bothy via Srathan Buide 19.9k / 12.4 miles


Weather, Mainly sunny and very windy.


4 Packed & ready to go, Loch Marie.jpg

Packed & ready to go, Loch Marie


I was walking by 9.35am along the loch path for several miles (most of which was through high ferns) to the grand estate house of Letterewe

5 Loch Marie.jpg

Loch Marie

6 Loch Marie.jpg

Loch Marie

7 Loch Marie.jpg

Loch Marie

8 Letterewe, Loch Marie.jpg

Letterewe, Loch Marie

9 Torridon hills from above Loch Marie.jpg

Torridon hills from above Loch Marie

From Letterewe I had a choice of the shorter but higher pass of Bealach Mheinnidh or the longer and lower pass through Srathan Buide, with the high winds that were buffering me even at lower levels, I chose the Srathan Buide option

10 Strathan Buidhe pass.jpg

Strathan Buidhe pass

11 Strathan Buidhe pass.jpg

Strathan Buidhe pass

12 Strathan Buidhe pass.jpg

Strathan Buidhe pass

Once I dropped down towards Fionn Loch I was rewarded with one of the best, if not THE best mountain panoramas in the Highlands, today set of in sparkling clear visibility.

13 Lochan on path to Carnmore.jpg

Lochan on path to Carnmore

14 Rhuidh Stac Mhor.jpg

Rhuidh Stac Mhor

15 Beinn Lair.jpg

Beinn Lair

16 Fionn loch.jpg

Fionn loch

I had planned to camp near to the causeway, but after setting up the tent on a nice grassy area by a sandy beach, in a "slightly" wind sheltered spot, I quickly found that the tent was being blown almost inside out by the swirling gusts.

17 Perfect wildcamp...when no wind!.jpg

Perfect wildcamp...when no wind!

18 The Causeway, Fionn loch.jpg

The Causeway, Fionn loch

So swiftly packed it again and headed for the shelter of the nearby Carnmore Bothy.

19 Carnmore Stable Bothy.jpg

Carnmore Stable Bothy

20 Carnmore Stable Bothy.jpg

Carnmore Stable Bothy

21 Sunset from Carnmore Stable Bothy.jpg

Sunset from Carnmore Stable Bothy


This “Bothy” is very basic with an uneven earth and stone floor, but it does have 3 old bedsteads to camp on, so this would do nicely to get out of the wind for the night.
Not that I got much sleep, the roof is made of sheeting panels, which rattle, creaked and banged in the howling wind…..it was like trying to sleep with a freight train passing overhead!

To be continued…….
Last edited by mountainstar on Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby magicdin » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:22 am

mountainstar wrote:
Not that I got much sleep, the roof is made of sheeting panels, which rattle, creaked and banged in the howling wind…..it was like trying to sleep with a freight train passing overhead!




I agree with that - spent a night there last year when the gales got up - I likened it to trying to sleep in a wind tunnel :(

This year (July) I took earplugs and was ok :D


Great Report - What a terrific area it is
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby mountainstar » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am

THE GREAT WILDERNESS, a 4 day backpacking trip, cont....

Day 3:- Mon 6th

Carnmore to Shenavall Bothy 11.5k/ 7.2 miles


Weather Sunny and very windy.

22 Sunrise from Carnmore Stable Bothy.jpg

Sunrise from Carnmore Stable Bothy
(This was the actual colours…no computer enhancement)

I got up at around 6.30am with an orange glow in the Bothy, once outside I was rewarded with a fantastic red sky ahead, a quick picture was taken in the cold wind, then back to my bag to get 40 more winks, ZZZzzz.
The gale force winds continued as I left at 9.20 am, any ideas of doing any summits en route were off again.

23 Fionn Loch from Carnmore.jpg

Fionn Loch from Carnmore

24 Moss pool colours.jpg

Moss pool colours

Once over the pass at 540 meters I passed two walkers who were off (hopefully) up the 2 munros:- Ruadhe StacMor & A’Mhaighdean.( Later I met them again when they popped back into Shenaval to pick up there gear, and told me how they had been defeated by the 80 mph winds before getting to either summit, they also told me that one of them needed to bag these badly as he had only these 2 to do, before doing his final Munro Ben Lomond on a planned date with friends early next year, and with no forecast of less winds tomorrow they reluctantly packed up and left to return home to the south of England.)

25 Beinn Dearg Mor.jpg

Beinn Dearg Mor

26 Gleann Na Muice Beag.jpg

Gleann Na Muice Beag

27 Fisherfield mountains from Gleann Na Muice.jpg

Fisherfield mountains from Gleann Na Muice

28 An Teallach.jpg

An Teallach

29 An Teallach from Larachantivore.jpg

An Teallach from Larachantivore

30 Shenavall.jpg

Shenavall

31 Beinn Dearg Bheag & Mor from Shenavall.jpg

Beinn Dearg Bheag & Mor from Shenavall

32 Loch na Sealga from Shenavall.jpg

Loch na Sealga from Shenavall

I had no problem crossing the 2 usually problematic rivers after the recent dry spell, and reached Shenaval at around 1.35pm. I had a unusually quiet lonesome night (for this busy Bothy….the next night I later found out that about 15 were staying overnight!) by myself apart from the 2 gents who I mentioned and another walker who called in, who was off to camp by Loch Toll an Lochan between the two Corbetts Beinn Dearg Mor & Bheag, which looked fairly sheltered from the wind. (I saw him a few days later and he told me how big whirlwind sheets of water funnelled into the air as the winds swirled around the corrie.)

33 Sunset from Shenavall.jpg

Sunset from Shenavall

At 10pm I departed to my bed to catch up on my sleepless night from the night before, the wind still howled, but I never heard a thing with a more solid roof over me this time.


Day 4:- Tues 7th

Shenaval Bothy to Kinlochewe via Bealach na Croise and Leckie Bothy 29.2k / 18.2 miles

Weather. Cloudy, windy, some rain later.


I slept well to around 9am, and was away by 9.45am on a cloudy day.

34 Leaving Shenavall.jpg

Leaving Shenavall

Today I was to retrace the route (in reverse) that I took on my Cape Wrath trail trip, this time a bit dryer underfoot.

35 Strath na Sealga.jpg

Strath na Sealga

37 Loch an Nid.jpg

Loch an Nid

I passed the only other walker of the day at Loch an Nid, he had camped out towards the Bealach na Croise that night, and told me how the tent had taken a battering and he also did not get much sleep, and had to get up to check the tent pegs a few times in the night.
From the Bealach na Croise I crossed the hillside which is the only part of this trip that does not follow a path, and would be I imagine very confusing if done in the mist, but after about 2 miles it meets the good path leading from Lochan Fada, where I had planned to camp for a 4th night, but with not much shelter about and the wind still strong I pressed on.

38 Fionn loch.jpg

Fionn loch

From the Bealach na Croise it had also started to spit with rain and by the time I had reached the Heights of Kinlochewe it was raining heavy, here I took the path to Leckie Bothy which I reached at 4.20pm.

40 Leckie Bothy.jpg

A nosy visitor!

39 Leckie Bothy.jpg

Leckie Bothy

Undecided on whether to stop here or not I unpacked and had a meal, but realised that my pan lid was missing, and could only imagine that I had left it in Shenavall, this made my mind up, so I packed again and left at 6.20pm to return, in by now dry conditions, to Kinlochewe for a night in the bunkhouse. Planning to drive to Corrie Hallie the next day and walk back to Shenavall to see if the pan lid was there. (I would not have bothered, but it was an expensive titanium one)

This in my opinion probably the best 4 or 5 day backpacking trip in the Highlands for some fantastic Mountain and Glen scenery, only Knoydart getting anywhere near to it, so if anyone fancies a trip of this length, try to choose a good spell of weather and go for it!

Footnote. I very quickly walked/ran back to Shenavall the next morning in a quick 2.45mins return, passing a dozen or more who had stopped there that previous night, asking if any had seen the lid, none had, and when I got there it was not to be found, so it remains a mystery as to where I lost it, possible it could have fallen out of my rucksack when I put on my waterproofs? :?
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby b-illie » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:11 pm

I remember that smally cobble beach just before Carnmore ... we stopped there for a snack but after only a few minutes we had to move on because of the chilly wind.
And I totally agree: It's an awesome backpacking trip! When we read about "the Letterewe Wilderness" in a travel guide, we knew this was where we wanted to go, and it was totally worth it. :D
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby BethAtTheHug » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:49 pm

Cracking adventure! I'd love to do something like this, hills or no. All my backpacking trips have been just one night so far.
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby Penguin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:02 pm

Quality report. Haven't done a backpacking walk for ages! Loved them when I was younger. Certainly food for thought for next time.

Nice report. :thumbup:

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8)
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby walk aboot » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:13 pm

Epic report as ever mountain star, great photos (liked the nosey horse too :lol: ).

You forgot your tent :shock: :shock: :shock: and then lost your pot lid :crazy: .

I was going to say at the start I recognised that stable bothy from one of magicdin's previous reports, but then I noticed he has already posted/said so...does look uncomfy but with a bit of character 8)
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby icemandan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:55 pm

Fully agree that this is one of the best rounds in Scotland. I did it back in 2002 starting from Poolewe, bagging the Fisherfield munroes en route. Carnmore bothy doesn't seem to have improved much. There was moss growing on the inside then and nothing to sit on. Lying on the floor drinking whisky was as close to the lifestyle of a down and out as I ever want to get!

Other memories of that trip were an epic round of the munros culminating in spending the night under the stars on the side of Beinn Chladheimh after the mist came in on the descent and we opted to retreat up and over. (Half of the party carried on and had the unenviable task of crossing the bog and finding the bothy in total darkness). I also remember a huge and unsuspected ravine which had to be crossed near the top of Bealach Gorm, the joys of steak at the Kinlochewe hotel after 5 days of beanfeast and the like.
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby Gable Gable End » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:18 pm

5* stuff again Mountain Star. That red sky is simply stunning!
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby kerrera » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:26 pm

Good report.

What tent is that?
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby mountainstar » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:06 pm

kerrera wrote:Good report.

What tent is that?


Its a Coleman Avior X3

PS just put my other tent on Ebayhttp://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TENT-North-Face-Rock-22-2-man-Backpacking-Camping-/110591100490?pt=UK_SportsLeisure_HikingCamping_Tents_JN&hash=item19bfbe464a

TENT, North Face “Rock 22” 2 person, for Backpacking/Camping.
Features:- PU taped flysheet,2 DAC press fit Aluminium poles (colour coded), continuous pole sleeves, Dual doors and Vestibules, lots of internal pockets, 5 hang loops, 4 guide lines, 10 aluminium pegs .
Tech specs (see picture) Height 109cm, length 221cm, internal width 140cm, vestibule 76cm.
Colour, Green
Weight, 3.02kg (min 2.68kg)


This is a great tent for general camping & backpacking, really handy with the 2 doors on each side and 2 vestibules for cooking or storing gear.
2 air beds fit perfectly, and there are loads of pockets to store your knick-knacks.
It is very easy to pitch in a few minutes.
It comes complete with Stuff bag and original instructions.
It is still as good as new; no rips, fading or mildew.
The only reason I am selling it is I recently went on holiday to Scotland and forgot to take it with me, so had to buy a new one, so one of them has to go.
Even my wife, who doesn’t really like camping, likes this tent!
Original list price was £149.99

Starting price of £25 plus postage


PPS Hope I am in order of doing a link for selling the tent? :problem:
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Re: THE GREAT WILDERNESS, 4 day backpacking trip

Postby mountainstar » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:48 am

I have to mention and rave about the great service I have received from www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk I emailed them to see if they could get me a replacement titanium pan-lid, they emailed me back to say they would get one on their next order, when I emailed them back to ask how much it would be, this is there reply:-

It is very unlikely that it will arrive before you leave, but if it arrives in time to be posted to the Glencoe Hostel for your arrival on 16 October we will arrange for that to happen. Failing that, we will simply post it to your home address. There is no charge, it is all part of the service.


No postage as well, fantastic service! :D
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